There are many household items that should not be flushed down your drains. Although some might seem obvious, there may be some everyday objects you have absentmindedly flushed down the toilet or sink that can cause an extreme back up in your pipes. To prevent any products from silently wreaking havoc in your plumbing, avoid throwing the following down your drains. It will save you from spending much more on fixing your plumbing than what you spent on these household items.
The Most Common Household Items that Clog your Drains
- Dental Floss. Although thin and flexible, it can become caught on the surfaces of rusty old pipes and can become a serious problem, especially if you do not know the age of your plumbing system.
- Feminine Products. The materials tampons, sanitary pads and panty liners are made from are all designed to absorb liquid. When flushed down a drain, these products will absorb water, expand and easily get lodged in the pipes. Even if the packaging says it is ‘flushable’, you should not flush it down a drain.
- Earbuds or Q-tips. These thin, stick objects can become stuck length-ways in a narrow pipe space, and can even pierce holes in old pipes.
- Paper Towels and Tissues. These products were designed to be absorbent and therefore do not break down properly when flushed down a drain.
- Dryer Sheets. These sheets easily clog up drains as they do not breakdown in water, and they contain harsh chemicals, which can be detrimental to water treatment facilities.
- Baby Wipes and Facial Wipes. These items should be thrown in the trash, as they can form a small clog that can cause other items to become lodged in the plumbing.
- Cigarette Butts. The ends of cigarettes expand in water and can create a sludge that may make it difficult for other items to pass through the pipes.
- Plasters. These sticky bands do not degrade and can stick to the inside of your pipes.
- Cat litter and pet food. These products can cause clogging and corrosion. The sand and clay in cat litter is especially corrosive as it can scratch at the interior of the pipe.
- Diapers. No matter if they are labelled as flushable or not, diapers should only be discarded in the bin. The absorbent materials that make up a diaper will continue to expand in your plumbing, creating dry pockets and making water flow impossible.
- Condoms. The latex material they are made of does not mix well with a plumbing system, as it will stay in the system long after it has been flushed away and can cause problems in your septic tank or at sewage treatment plants.
- Fats, Oils, and Grease. Even if they go down the drain as a liquid, oils will congeal into fat clumps that build up on the interior of your pipes.
- Cotton Balls and Swabs. These cotton puffs do not break down in water, but rather absorb water and expand, causing them to get trapped in pipe bends.